nerosunero (Mario Sughi)
The right distance
in Melania Gazzotti, Mario Sughi, The Painters’ Room Vanilla Edizioni, Albissola Marina (SV) 2021, pp.4-5
nerosunero, #1350 Maria (Afternoon shopping), 2019
Mario Sughi always carries a camera with him, an instrument through which he observes the reality that surrounds him and documents the scenes of daily life that most capture his curiosity. The faces, places and situations immortalized in these shots constitute a rich archive from which the artist draws the subjects of his works and which bring to mind the sensations generated in him by a given moment. At the centre of this collection of images are ordinary people, crossed at the corner of a street, on a promenade or in a museum, people who talk, walk, love and absentmindedly inhabit shared spaces. These casual encounters generally attract the artist's attention for a detail: a look or a gesture, simple ideas around which he can then shape a more complex scene.
Thanks to these visual notes, once back in his studio, Sughi manages to restore, through the precision of the drawing and the combination of flat colours, the fleetingness of that moment. The choice of tones, which most of the time are saturated and bright, and with a cool and diffused light, help to define an atmosphere, to evoke a sensation. In this exercise of representation, Sughi's line, even when it takes on a certain crudeness or a certain aesthetic satisfaction, never lets a judgment, an involvement, leak out. The relationship between the artist and his subject is also partly defined by the chosen technique, digital painting, in which the work acquires its physical dimension after its creation, thanks to a printing process.
This distance visibly fades as Sughi finds himself portraying someone he knows. His gaze focuses on features and the search for a revealing expression, overshadowing the context, even when it is minutely described or evoked by a significant element. The intensity of these portraits, which in some cases stand out simply on monochrome backgrounds, is given by Sughi's ability to faithfully describe a face using a few strokes, as if proceeding by subtraction would help him to get closer to the essence of his subject and to sharpen the intimacy of the scene. This research of synthesis and depth reveals one of the distinctive features of the artist's work, namely his interest and his wonder for human nature and its inexhaustible diversity.